Category: News

SSX on the Seven Summits?

The video game franchise SSX takes on a new challenge. The Seven Summits. Well, a lot of them anyway.

“Real-world mountains, such as Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, are now your playground — though they have some crazy jumps and rails tossed in.” — It’s got ‘SSX’-appeal – Washington Examiner

Is it at all realistic to the idea of climbing the Seven Summits? Can you learn anything useful from playing it? Well, the idea of using the right equipment at the right time is sure applicable.

“Some of the Deadly Descents get very intense and will try your patience until you’ve mastered the use of the necessary survival equipment.” — It’s got ‘SSX’-appeal – Washington Examiner

But really? Can this be any worse for Everest or Kilimanjaro or Denali? Mont Blanc? With all the apparent nutcases already trying to take their extreme sport or cause into the Death Zone, will this inspire further craziness in people who believe that playing a few video games and practicing in a Terrain Park will be enough to earn them passage to the basecamp of choice, where they die a miserable painful protracted death, possibly taking their entire team with them and causing governments around the world a knee-jerk overreaction and the closure of the mountains to all?

Or am I just being mildly facetious?

Everest Unclimbable Due to Climate Change?

The infamous Apa Sherpa, who has been on the top of Everest a record 21 times, and is now a global warming advocate, is on a trek of awareness in the Himalaya now to broadcast the message that Everest is melting, and the ensuing loose rock slides will soon make Everest unclimbable.

Popular Science has a very brief article which also references the Everest Height Controversy.

The conditions are deteriorating so much that the mountain may be unclimbable in a few years, according to Apa Sherpa, a Nepali climber who has reached the summit a record 21 times.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

“When I first climbed there was a lot of snow and ice,” Apa has said of Everest’s decline. “But now most of it has just become bare rock. That is causing more rockfalls which are dangerous to climbers.” — TNT UK Magazine

So now I’d like to know how you feel.

1) I need to hurry up and climb this now while it’s easy
2) I’ve done the Colorado Fourteeners, so long scree slogs are cake
3) There’s like no chance of a vested interest in this news release, right?
4) The whole Eastern end of that land mass needs to look at their own industrial pollution first
5) I’ll never climb Everest so I don’t really care one way or the other

International Everest Height Dispute

And while we’re on the topic of changing the height of Everest, this Times of India news story points to another dispute.

In the border talks between Nepal and China, scheduled for earlier this month but postponed at the last moment at Nepal’s request , the height of Everest was one of the issues on the agenda, according to government officials.

For how to measure the summit of Everest, China wants to recognize the rock under the snow cap, while Nepal currently recognizes the top of the snow cap, which is about 12′ thick, making Everest that much taller by Nepalese standards. This may or may not be all that significant, since I don’t know that anyone has ever climbed Everest only to the top of the rock layer, without also being on top of the snow layer. Any opinions?

1) After 29,000-ish-feet who cares about 12 feet more or less?
2) Those countries over there are always having issues about something
3) If Global Warming continues, the top will naturally come down anyway, so let’s just wait.

Source: Uploaded by user via Charles on Pinterest – Ryan Hamilton climbing in Ouray CO

How tall is Everest Now?

As if the recent measurement projects weren’t enough, now there’s an attempt to remeasure Everest using modern technology, and it’s presumed that it’s actually a few meters higher than we thought. Using GEOID – or a supposedly more accurate way to locate Sea Level, or 0′ for that exact location on Earth – this team is attempting to determine the exact height of Everest.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

While a few meters doesn’t seem like much, this might be significant in comparison to other measuring attempts to declare K2 higher than Everest, and thus the new highest mountain on Earth. I’d be curious to see how Chimborazo does though…

How do you feel about this?

1) Who cares about a few meters here or there?
2) Wow, I’m more excited than ever to attempt Everest now
3) Who’s paying for this and why?
4) Poor K2, I hope this goes totally backwards on them

How tall is Aconcagua now?

Recently I read an article pointing out that Aconcagua, being in an area along the Chile/Argentina border with very high seismic activity that generally has caused many of the nearby peaks to gain elevation, is probably higher than the currently accepted height of 6,962 meters (22,841 ft), which is somewhat higher than the last official measurement (in 1956) of 6,959 meters (22,831 feet).

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In the article it mentions that an expedition is currently on the mountain attempting to use the latest technology to get an accurate measurement. There are a lot of reasons why both barometric and GPS based measurements can be inaccurate, so we’ll see. Interestingly, the second tallest peak in South America is also along the Chile/Argentina border, Ojos del Salado at 6,893 meters (22,615 ft) – less than 100 meters difference. Every few years some measurement comes up a couple hundred meters higher, making it the second highest peak in South America. This is a recently active volcano, considered the highest volcano on Earth, and is grouped in both The Second Seven Summits, and the Volcanic Seven Summits list.

What’s up with Prince Harry and Everest?

If you’ve been watching the news, you would have heard an announcement in January that based on the relative success of his North Pole adventure with one of his favorite charities, Prince Harry was intending to walk with Walk with the Wounded to the top, or at least Base Camp, of Everest this year.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

Recently he appears to have waffled on that, and decided to maintain his support for the charity from afar. I’ve read a handful of articles in various online newspapers and a few blogs (including: “Is Prince Harry Really Going to …“) – but really, what does this even mean?

1) Climbing Everest is a great charity donation motivator?
2) Climbing Everest is a great thing for wealthy young fit celebrities to do?
3) Climbing Everest is almost a mainstream event?
4) Climbing Everest is almost meaningless anymore?

I can only imagine the fit his Mother would throw at his intentionally involving himself with an activity possibly slightly more dangerous than driving helicopters. People normally don’t die very often hiking to the North Pole. Everest on the other hand does see a few deaths on average every year.

In a study of 8,030 climbers and 6,108 Sherpas there were 212 climbing deaths between 1921 and 2006 (approximately 1.5%) – based on a study by The British Medical Journal (BMJ ), Vol 337, December 2008, by PG Firth and colleagues

I can certainly see the value in a charity that shows being a disabled war veteran needn’t stop you from doing great things you might believe are lost dreams. I can see that Everest is a great way to walk the walk and show your stuff. I remember being wrapped up in the Discovery documentary showing Mark Inglis’s summit of Everest and his great capacity for endurance and suffering. I see value in celebrities hanging on with charities like this, to offer the support of their fans and supporters. And in the case of Prince Harry, I don’t see that he really stands to gain anything obvious from this either way.

I wish the team at Walking with the Wounded great luck and success on their expedition this year.